The Hunt For Dead Frogs

Sunday, 27 May 2007  |  Bullish Insights

“The sound of frogs croaking brings good luck!” That’s what my mother-in-law happily told me last night as we listened to the orchestra of more than a dozen bullfrogs screaming out their ribbits in her frontyard. Ironically, I learned this morning that if there is any creature on this earth that needs luck the most, it would be the poor bullfrog himself.

I ran solo in Ayala Alabang at 5:30 this morning. After a little over a month of running with Coach B and Annie four times a week, I welcomed the thought of running on my own again. I missed the silence, the clarity of thought, the freedom, the effortlessness, and last but not the least, the ipod (with newly uploaded old hed kandi music to boot!) Let me tell you though, I did have my apprehensions: Would I be able to run the distance without dying of boredom? (I think I had told myself all the funny anecdotes I knew!) and would I be able to motivate myself to “Bull run, run, run!” whenever I feel like I want to walk, walk, walk?

Before I could think any further, I tightened my laces and ran at a comfortable pace. Ooooh, I loved it. The day was perfect: the sun’s rays were kind this morning, the roads were clear, and my music selection was excellent. Yeah, this is the reason why I started running in the first place, I thought. With a smile on my face I continued to run when—WHOOPS—my state of runner’s euphoria was rudely disrupted as I skipped over a dead bullfrog! It was lying on the road with its insides spilling out of its tummy. I jumped over the poor frog only to discover its close cousin butchered to death in the same manner. Eeeew, it was a dreadful sight. Instantly, I remembered my mother-in-law’s words the night before and laughed at the thought of bad luck killing the bearer of good tidings. Thus, my run became a “hunt for the dead frogs.”

As I ran further, I saw more victims. They were ambushed in varying manners: a few were were squished in one area with guts leaking out, others were completely flattened, while the very unlucky few could no longer be identified. They could pass as black spots of paint on the road had I not possesed a discerning eye for dead frogs. At the end of my run, I had counted exactly 13 dead bullfrogs along the roads of Ayala Alabang. 13! Can you believe that?!

Frog
– 1 of the unlucky 13 squashed frogs along my route –

I had been so busy looking out for these frogs that, when I returned to the start of my route, I had timed in at 50 minutes and probably covered around 8k (more than enough for what should have been a light run!) No time for fatigue or boredom for me! It turns out that these frogs—croaking or not—can bring some luck (or more like distractive entertainment) after all!

6 Days to Register For Run For P.E.A.C.E.

Friday, 25 May 2007  |  Race Announcements

I just registered for the Run For P.E.A.C.E., have you?

For the past week, I could simply not decide between the 5k or 10k due to the cacophony of voices yelling out their oh-so unsolicited advice. My legs were begging me to just go for 5k because I had abused them during the Champion Run. My laptop was telling me to run the 5k because, as iCal mentioned, I had a business trip to Batangas scheduled for June 9, the day before the race. My brain was telling me to sign up for 10k as it had intelligently concluded and I quote “the 10k would be highly achievable without undue stress to your body as intensive training shall prepare you for it.” Aaaah, decisions decisions.

This morning, I met Coach B, Annie, Mayi and Jamike for our usual run at Alabang. Annie and I ran for 1 hour covering around 10k at our usual pace taking our regular route. There was nothing unusual today, but my run was exhilarating. It was tiring (my legs were very stiff towards the end) yet it was pure bliss. Driving home from the run on an adrenaline high, I threw all rational thought to the wind and decided to join the 10k.

I dropped by NCRTS at Camp Bagong Diwa this morning to register for the run. Mr. John Familara, the affable Finance Officer of NCRTS, helped me out with registration and proudly spoke of the upcoming race. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the run will be carried out in 13 regions—from Baguio to Caraga—all at the same time with an estimated 3,000 participants in each race. Whoooaaa, incredible! For some reason, the thought of running alongside (well, in spirit) other Filipino runners across the country got me more excited for the race. As if I’m not excited enough eh?!

Route Map Run For Peace 10k

– Route Map For Run For P.E.A.C.E. –
(courtesy of Mon Domingo, H@ppy Feet Runners)

Run For PEACE (3k/5k/10k/15k/21k) will be held on June 10, 2007, Sunday, 5 a.m. at Global City, Fort Bonifacio.

Registration is on-going until May 31, 2007 at the National Capital Region Training School in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City. (I had no idea where this was, so just in case you’re as clueless as I was, here are the DIRECTIONS: Southbound on South Super Highway, exit Bicutan. Make a left towards the market. Straight ahead. You’ll see Camp Bagong Diwa on the right) Or, of course, you can register on site! Call Prof. Jove Usana at 531.3487 or 0919.690.1295 for more details.

Nike+ Spoof

Thursday, 24 May 2007  |  Bullish Insights

Check out the Nike+ Ad…

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WHDw5uQvK5Y]

Now, here’s a spoof. You have to see this. So hilarious!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmOOAgNfE5U]

Courtesy of Russel G. Mills

Massage For Runners

Tuesday, 22 May 2007  |  Therapy + Injury

Did you know that you can significantly improve your runs while lying down? Yes, experts say that you can run better, faster, and longer if you lie down and…get a massage, that is. The benefits of a massage for runners are numerous:

  1. increases blood flow to your muscles (in simple language, it “heats” the blood just like a warm-up would do)
  2. soothes and relaxes your muscles
  3. relieves cramps and muscle tension
  4. improves flexibility which will result in more power and better performance
  5. prevents injury
  6. reduces tension (if you’re stressed about an upcoming race)
  7. lessens soreness (especially after a heavy training day or a race)
  8. aids in eliminating lactic acid build up
  9. makes you feel better (not as good as a tough run though!)

It comes as no surprise then that some experts recommend massage to be a regular part of a runner’s training schedule. At the NYC Marathon, they deploy 100 massage therapists to serve the 34,000 runners before and after the race. Wow. Here in the Philippines, we don’t even get water in our water stations (tsk tsk).

Massage

I have a love-hate-love relationship with massages. I used to love them, then after a nightmarish experience with a masseuse I boycotted them for three years, and now that I’m into running I am completely utterly dependent on them. After a super heavy run, it’s a must for me to get a massage if I want to walk properly (and not look like I have a stick up my butt) the following morning. If I feel sluggish during the day, my masseuse will definitely be called upon that evening.

Last Friday, two nights before the Champion Race, I thought of treating my body to a massage (perhaps the best way to prepare it for the torture it was about to endure…some sort of yin & yang in the bullrunner’s world.) With my favorite masseuse unavailable, I bravely asked them to send me the strongest woman in the house. This was no time for a namby-pamby body rub; I wanted fierce and fiesty karate-chop-type of physical therapy.

Boy did I make a big mistake. When the masseuse (let’s call her Masseuse X to protect her identity) started massaging my legs, I felt pain, not relief! Masseuse X had power alright, but her strokes were quick, rough, and amateurish. Her fingers were pushing into my skin. She even pulled on my blister and my dead toenail—such monstrosity! Not once, not twice, but thrice I asked her to decrease the pressure, but she didn’t heed my request. Ack, I gritted my teeth thinking of the hundreds of seconds I had to endure under that pain.

Since I am writing now, you know that I did survive that horrifying experience. I went to the Champion Run with a rejuvenated body, but with bruises on my shins and arms because of the pounding. Lesson learned: Thou shalt not experiment with a new masseuse before a race. If possible, have husband serve as guinea pig first.

References:

Gloria Averbuch, New York Road Runners Complete Book of Running and Fitness, 4th Edition, New York, Random House, 2004

Claudia Piepenberg, Massage For Runners, How To Be Fit.com

Champion Run 2007

Monday, 21 May 2007  |  Race Reports

Yesterday was a big day for me. “Big” because it was my first 10k ever…hmmm perhaps I should’ve used the word “long”?

I arrived at the scene of the Champion Run at 5:30 a.m. giving me just enough time to do my warm-ups—some dynamic stretching techniques taught by Coach B followed by a quick run to the little girls’ room. That counts as a warm up, right? I bade my hubby and son goodbye (both came for moral support…ack, who am I kidding? I begged my hubby to come as my official photographer) then I slipped into the sea of runners impatiently waiting at the starting line right across Jollibee at The Fort.

Morning Stretch
– Runners stretch before the race –

The crowd that showed up on this sunny Sunday morning was an enthusiastic and happy lot—aren’t runners that way all the time? Most were men (well, a whole lot of them were PNP cadets) and I would say that majority of the registrants were serious runners who knew their stuff. Soon after the National Anthem, at around 6:10 a.m., we were off.

It was literally a mad rush to get out of the pack. Runners were scrambling to secure their own space, overtake the slower ones, or find and sustain a steady pace. I knew it was wrong for me to run like a bull at this point, so I kept my pace at around 65-70% effort with some bouts of power followed by short recovery periods every now and then. The first 5k of the course from the starting line till the end of Manila American Cemetery at the end of C5 road was relatively easy for me. I savoured the downhill runs and immensely enjoyed the idea of gravity doing all the work for me at that point. Passing by the water stations, I made a mental note to stop at one on the way back since it was located at the bottom of an uphill climb. At around 4.5k, I saw a couple of friends heading back already: Sen. Pia Cayetano, an accomplished triathlete who probably eats 10ks for breakfast, and Annie, my running group buddy who never seems to run out of energy (she can teach a spin class right after our 10k training runs!) Physically, I was still alright, but mentally I was getting a bit nervous about the thought of climbing up all the hills I had previously rolled down from.

Upon reaching the 10k turnaround, I felt like I still had a lot of energy left, but I needed water badly. I knew where the water stations were located so these became my goals—much like a dehydrated madman searching for water in a desert. I pushed myself hard and thought positive. When I saw hills, I reminded myself of our training runs in Cuenca Street in Ayala Alabang when I initially thought I couldn’t climb such a steep hill but surprised myself when I did so with ease. When I was tempted to walk, I reprimanded myself and said “No way you’re walking. Just run slowly until you recover.” With some patience and persistence, there it was…the next water station. Aaaah, at last! As I was about to line up for a glass, I was completely shocked to see (almost in slow motion, I tell you) one man pouring what was left of the water over his head. Just like a mirage, all the water was gone! Thirsty, tired runners were screaming “Tubig!” (“Water!”) repeatedly but no water came. OMG! When I reached the next water station, why was I not surprised that there was no water either? I was too thirsty to complain. Needless to say, I, and hundreds of other runners, ran the last 5k with nothing but willpower.

When I saw the finish line ahead of me, I was ecstatic. I gave it my all and ran as fast as I could. Boy, did I miscalculate the length of that road because I certainly did not have the energy reserves (nor enough training) to run a sprint that long. With a dry throat and tired legs, I forgot about everything and just went for it. Before I knew it, I crossed the finish line.

Finish
– That’s me a few steps away from the finish line –

My goal: 1 hour. My time: 1:00:53. I was seconds shy of not reaching my time. But, sigh…I did it! Now, when’s the next 10k again?

With Anton
– My hubby (taking the pic) and son meet me at the finish line –

With Annie
– with Annie, my super strong running mate –

with Pia
– with Sen. Pia Cayetano, my boss/friend/running idol –

Army/Navy
– PNP cadets celebrating post-race camraderie –

3 runners
– Three runners relaxing after the race –

Happy Feet
– with the H@ppy Feet Runners (It was great to finally meet you guys! See you at the next run!) –